National Library Week seems an appropriate time to honor and celebrate an institution I love. When in my youth, I wondered where my wanderlust might take me, I remember thinking, ‘As long as the town has a library, I can be happy there.’
I wasn’t far off the mark. My local library isn’t the only reason I like where the wind blew me. I also depend on my YMCA, our lake and glorious summers, and many deep and wonderfully sustaining friendships.
But would my small city feel like home if there were no library here? Doubtful. And since ours is a library to love, I’d hate to contemplate the effect its absence might have – on our community as well as on my own life.
Besides being a repository of story, our library gathers and connects people. Many of those deep friendships I mentioned came from connections formed at the library.
My writers’ group was born there, and we continue to meet every month in one of our library’s gracious meeting rooms. Here are twenty-thirty souls I might never have otherwise met, but who have become lights through darkness and fireworks in times of joy. My fellow writers kick my butt, challenge me to dig deeper, to imagine bigger, to write more and cheer, cheer, cheer me on. Did I mention, it was their butt-kicking that pushed me to write an actual novel? A novel that now sits on my library’s shelves? Be still my heart! For facilitating my connections to my writing friends, I love my library.
One of those writer friends spoke so lovingly about her book club that I wrangled an invitation to join. How did I live before without those smart, smart women in my life? We share our struggles, our passions, and wine as we share our love of books. Besides our monthly book club meetings, we frequently see each other at library events – because these are women who read a lot more than just one book a month. For these happiest of friendships, I love my library!
Some years back, while at the library for yet another event, I saw a flyer for an evening workshop to learn how to make a peyote beaded bracelet. I signed up and discovered yet another creative outlet. For weeks after the workshop, beading was the only thing I wanted to do. Since then, I wonder how many bracelets, necklaces, pins, and other wearable art I’ve made. I’d guess several hundred. Certainly, I’ve created more jewelry than I can wear myself – and I rarely appear in public without sporting some beaded piece I’ve made in colors that go with my outfit du jour. I call beading therapy – and since I clearly need more therapy than I can wear or give away, I’ve found opportunities for modest sales to support my habit. For facilitating the therapy I require, I love my library!
Come to think of it, therapy is a good word for all my library gives me. I’ve long called books my drug of choice – an excursion into the lives of others, a chance to stretch my empathic muscles, a challenge to my imagination, vast learning and even vaster entertainment. For helping me be human, I love my library!
Despite all the young and stupid things I did in my foolish youth, it’s a relief to know in one wise moment, I was able to identify what I’d need for lifelong sustenance. What I thought back then remains true. ‘As long there’s a library, I’m happy here!’